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Pungent Pesto!

Cilantro Pesto

Having a jar of pesto in the fridge allows for an easy and spontaneous pasta dish. Just add a little extra oil or even a splash of water to make it saucy. This pungent sauce is also great on broiled chicken breast, slathered on pita and meatloaf sandwiches, or even mixed into a quinoa salad or mashed potatoes.

Think all pesto is made from basil? Think again. The beauty of pesto is its versatility. The greens, the nuts, the cheese,  the oil … all can vary according to your taste, budget, and fresh ingredients on hand. Here are lists of possible ingredients you can use, followed by a recipe as an example of how to use the ingredients proportionally, but that can vary too.

Spinach is an ingredient I often use. For my latest batch, I substituted cilantro for the basil. Talk about pungent! Have fun and let me know what combinations you’ve developed.


Greens arugula basil ​cilantro ​fennel mint Italian parsley ​spinach

Nuts (toasted or not) pine nuts walnuts almonds

Cheese grated Parmesan grated Romano feta (a little bit)

Oil extra virgin olive oil walnut oil almond oil

Other ingredients: salt (I use sea salt), garlic cloves, (optional) freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients 1 cup basil leaves, packed 1/2 cup spinach leaves, packed 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves 1/4 cup pine nuts 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 1-2 cloves garlic dash of sea salt 2 Tablespoons olive oil (or more) 2 tablespoons water (optional)

Instructions 1. In blender or food processor, combine basil, spinach, parsley, cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt. Cover and blend with several on-off pulses, scraping the sides from time to time, until a paste forms.  ​2. Gradually mix in the oil (and water) and blend or process until reaching consistency of soft butter. Add the salt and optional pepper to taste.  Makes about 3/4 cup. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days, or put in ice cube trays and freeze.

Good cooking to you, ​Linda ​​​​​Note: Would you like a printout of this and other recipes? These directions may help: Use your mouse to select only the text you want to copy rather than the entire page. Then press Ctrl+C, open your Word program and press Ctrl+V to paste the semi-formatted text. Print it from there.

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